Michael Jackson Estate and Katherine Jackson Dispute $600M Catalog Deal in Court

Dispute over Jackson's assets escalates in courtroom drama.

by Nouman Rasool
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Michael Jackson Estate and Katherine Jackson Dispute $600M Catalog Deal in Court
© Phil Walter/Getty Images

In a Los Angeles courtroom on Friday, tensions flared during a pivotal hearing concerning the monumental $600 million sale of Michael Jackson's music rights to Sony. This sale, initially brought to light by Billboard and later confirmed by Rolling Stone, has sparked legal contention, with Katherine Jackson's legal team arguing that the estate's co-executors, John Branca and John McClain, proceeded with the deal in disregard of ongoing legal appeals.

The transaction, struck at a time when the asset market is reportedly at its zenith, aims to leverage the booming market while ensuring the estate retains crucial influence over Michael Jackson's musical legacy. Despite the deal's specifics remaining confidential, the estate's filings indicate a strategy to safeguard Michael's image and legacy through retained control over his name, image, and likeness rights, as well as continuing management of merchandising and the estate's trademarks.

Legal Battle Intensifies

However, Katherine Jackson's attorney, Robert E. Allen, voiced concerns that the deal's completion violates existing court orders, highlighting a lack of response from the estate to inquiries about the deal's legal foundation.

Allen's call for a court hearing to address potential contempt charges against co-executor John Branca underscores the dispute's intensity. Contrarily, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff clarified that the executors held the authority to finalize the deal, noting their personal liability in case of subsequent lawsuits.

This stance was echoed by estate lawyer Jeryll Cohen, who emphasized the executors' rationale for pushing forward with the transaction. The backdrop to this legal drama includes the estate's financial turnaround from debt at Michael Jackson's death to a valuation exceeding $2 billion, thanks to strategic asset management.

Nonetheless, the estate faces ongoing challenges, including a substantial IRS tax dispute and revived lawsuits from Michael Jackson's accusers, Wade Robson and James Safechuck. Amid these complexities, the dispute over Katherine Jackson's legal fees further complicates matters, with accusations of punitive motives against her for challenging the estate's decisions.

The case continues to unfold, with a follow-up hearing scheduled for March 22, marking another chapter in the posthumous legal battles surrounding Michael Jackson's legacy. Originally published on: Michael Jackson Estate, Katherine Jackson Clash in Court Over $600 Million Catalog Deal

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